Fuchsia - Fuchsia

A fuchsia in the garden

Fuchsias are small shrubs, originating in South America; there are many species of fuchsia, with quite diversified needs and characteristics, so as to have forced botanists to divide the genus into some groups, to better group the species with similar needs. The fuchsias have been cultivated in Europe for about a couple of centuries, in all these years the nurserymen have produced innumerable hybrids, cultivars, crosses, all deriving more or less from the same botanical species, and therefore showing similar cultivation needs; the presence of numerous crossings, however, has made the appearance of fuchsias in the nursery very variable, which in fact exist with an erect, creeping and hanging, with simple flowers, double, stradoppi, with the size of a small perennial or a shrub, in short we can find fuchsias for every taste and requirement, even if in Italy in general the falling fuchsias are preferred, which are often cultivated as annual plants.

Characteristics of fuchsias

In general, however, these are small dense and well-branched shrubs, with woody stems often brown or reddish; the leaves are oval, pointed, sometimes serrated, dark green, light green or reddish. From the beginning of spring to autumn they produce countless small flowers, generally without perfume. The flowers of the fuchsias are the most particular and delicate nature can offer us: small tubular goblets, divided into four sepals, often everted, enclose a corolla formed by four or more petals, in contrasting color with respect to that of the glass; from the center of the corolla conspicuously colored stamens and pistils stretch up to twice the size of the flower. Such flowers, so particular, are commonly called ballerinas, as they are very similar to a tutu dancer. Although the first fuchsias grown in Europe were simply red or fuchsia (the color derives its name from this flower), there are now fuchsias of various colors, almost always maintaining the contrast between chalice and corolla; in fact, there are white, lilac, purple purple, lilac, pink and orange fuchsias.

How to grow fuchsias

The fuchsias available in the nursery are all hybrids, botanical species are hardly available in Italy; these hybrids are divided into two large groups: frost-resistant fuchsias and delicate fuchsias. The first can be planted in the garden, in the ground, where they will reach 100-120 cm in height in a single season; but where they will be pruned on the ground at the end of autumn, because frost will cause the aerial part to dry out, which will begin to vegetate at the beginning of spring. The delicate fuchsias, on the other hand, are grown in pots, generally they are small in size, and there are also dwarf varieties; these fuchsias are often cultivated as annual plants, although, admitted to the arrival of cold in the greenhouse, with a minimum of 4-6 ° C, they can survive from year to year. To get a small plant full of flowers every year, it is necessary to shorten the small shrub at the end of autumn, and fertilize it as soon as spring arrives. Apart from the resistance to cold, most of the hybrids available in the nursery are cultivated in the same way; these plants are very suitable for that corner of the garden where nothing usually blooms, in fact the fuchsias love the semi-shaded places, even if they are bright, and they fear direct sunlight, especially on the hottest days of the year. They also need a cool, moist, well-drained but never completely dry soil; they fear the dry wind and the excessive summer heat. So they are grown in partial shade, and from April until September they need regular watering, so as to keep the soil always fresh and moist; every 12-15 days we supply fertilizer for flowering plants, dissolved in the water used for watering. We quickly realize that our fuchsia is thirsty, because within a few hours without water branches and leaves tend to wither dramatically: a single watering puts the plant back on its feet, but we avoid letting the plant dry too often, too much water stress they ruin the plant and the flowers.

Fuchsia - Fuchsia: Propagate fuchsias

Fuchsias can be produced from seed, sowing them in seedbeds in a sheltered place already in January-February, so as to have small plants already ready at the end of winter; if we want a fuchsia of a particular color we will not have to rely on the seeds collected by us directly from the plant, in fact; since they are always hybrids, plants originating from seed are not necessarily identical to the mother plant. So if we want to get a particular fuchsia from seed we will have to rely on the seeds selected by the professionals of the sector.
Otherwise, in late summer, we can shorten the branches that have not bloomed, and use them as cuttings, to prepare small fuchsias for the following year; in this case the young plants will be identical in all respects to the plant from which we took the cuttings.